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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Jack Hardy and Gareth Davies

‘Toxic’ Ryan Giggs headbutted his ex-partner as he revealed ugly and sinister side, trial hears

Former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs arrives at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court yesterday. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Ryan Giggs headbutted his girlfriend after cheating on her, a court heard yesterday, as the former footballer was accused of having a “sinister side”.

The 48-year-old is on trial accused of headbutting his former partner, Kate Greville, when she tried to end a “manipulative, controlling and toxic relationship”, as well as assaulting her sister, Emma.

As part of an alleged campaign of manipulation and “obsessive behaviour”, he threatened to send “personal” pictures to her friends and said he was “scaring” himself because he could “do anything right now”, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

Jurors were told by Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, to look beyond the glittering footballing career in which Mr Giggs won 13 Premier League titles before becoming the manager of the Wales national team.

“On the pitch, his skills were abundant and a thing of beauty,” he told the court.

“Off the pitch, in the privacy of his home, there was a much uglier and more sinister side to his character.

“This was a private life that involved a litany of abuse, both physical and psychological, of a woman whom he professed to love; a woman who was treated in a way that cannot be excused or overlooked either by the adoring public or the law.”

The case, he said, was a story “of control and coercion of a woman who thought she was loved and respected”.

“Sadly, the reality was very different,” he added.

Mr Giggs has denied using controlling and coercive behaviour against Ms Greville between August 2017 and November 2020, as well as assault and causing her actual bodily harm. He has also pleaded not guilty to the common assault of Emma Greville in November 2020.

Opening the prosecution’s case, Mr Wright laid out snapshots of evidence that he claimed threw a “shaft of light” on a part of Mr Giggs that “stays in the dark, not the public persona”.

He said the couple first met in 2013 and initially had an on-off relationship while he was still married. Ms Greville (36) ended her involvement with the ex-footballer several times over his alleged infidelities with other women.

By 2017, they were in a more steady relationship and had started living together, but, over time, Mr Giggs “became increasingly obsessive, controlling and coercive”, Mr Wright said. On one occasion, he allegedly threatened to send images “of a personal nature” to friends and work colleagues if Ms Greville did not do what he said.

At another point, when Ms Greville had blocked Mr Giggs on social media, he sent her a message with the header “blackmail”, the prosecutor said.

He also threw her belongings out of their house after she questioned whether he had been unfaithful, the court heard. One message sent by Mr Giggs to Ms Greville said: “I’m scaring myself because I feel I could do anything right now.

“The emotional abuse was calculated to erode any sense of self-worth, any resistance, any independence of thought or action. It was abuse that was, on occasions, punctuated with acts of violence and volatility.

“It was a deliberate course of conduct by him, calculated to gaslight her into doubting herself and her instincts, to wear down any resistance she may show towards (him).”

Eventually, the prosecutor said, the “scales fell” from Ms Greville’s eyes and on November 1, 2020, she decided she wanted to end the relationship while the couple were on a night out with friends at Manchester’s Stock Exchange Hotel.

She returned home ahead of Mr Giggs and asked her sister to help her move out.

Mr Giggs, however, returned before they could execute their plan and an argument ensued as he tried to stop her leaving, during which Ms Greville took his phone and Mr Giggs took her phone.

It led to the couple grappling on the floor, Mr Wright claimed, and, as Ms Greville’s sister tried to intervene, it is alleged that Mr Giggs elbowed her in the face.

Their row spilled into the kitchen and it was then that Mr Giggs “entirely lost self-control” and headbutted Ms Greville, causing swelling to her lips and bruising, the prosecutor said.

Chris Daw QC, defending, told the jurors that this account was a “nasty lie” and there had only been “minor and accidental contact” between Mr Giggs and Ms Greville, while the defendant did not elbow her sister deliberately.

The trial continues. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)

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